Kolkata: The Special Task Force of Kolkata Police has arrested a printing press owner from Birbhum on charges of printing books on Islamic extremism and trying to indoctrinate and radicalize youths through these books and social media.
The accused — identified as Najibullah (50) — is believed to be a member of the Jamaat-Ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh. However, given his unique modus operandi, the STF is investigating if he was recently radicalized by any South Asian offshoots of the Islamic State or its ideological opponent, al Qaida. He was arrested from his residence at Paikar’s Kabi Nagar, located about 23 km from Nalhati and close to the Murshidabad border late on Thursday after keeping him in both technical and physical surveillance running for weeks.
“Najibullah maintained a Facebook account in the name of one Saqib Ali and used to spread radicalised ideas regularly from here and fan hatred against different communities. He was also instigating a section of the youth in contact with him to take up the path of Islamic fundamentalism. The accused has a printing press business from which we have recovered several controversial literature and books etc were recovered. Several electronic devices — including a laptop — were also seized from his possession,” said DC (STF) Aparajita Rai.
“It is suspected that he too is from JMB. His laptop should provide us important leads. On examining the seized items, we will know exactly whose loyalty he has sworn allegiance to, said an officer. In June this year, the STF had arrested a suspected JMB operative from Hooghly district. Another operative was arrested from Murshidabad in May-end. This fresh arrest, though, has shocked the local residents. A sense of disbelief, though, has grabbed his village at Paikar with many who failed to comprehend how Najibullah, initially a tea-shop owner, got involved in terrorism.
“Among his immediate targets was to try and influence youths from south Bengal into radicalism. The accused had access to a lot of Bengali literature, including those suspected to have been collected across the border. There have been multiple arrests of youths from Birbhum even in the past — most of whom served the JMB. But what makes Najimullah’s arrest different from others was that he was trying to instigate the youths to choose the path of Islamic fundamentalism mostly through the use of books and social media. He had used FB which is easily accessible, a path usually not taken by terror module members. Though we have no conclusive evidence till now, we are not ruling out the possibility that he might have been a lone wolf radicalized over the internet,” stated a police source.
The accused has been sent to police custody till December 24 after being produced in a local court in Kolkata.